Responding to concerns about the perennial desecration of the Palm Grove Cemetery, Liberia’s most prominent burial ground, Mary Broh, head of the Presidential Taskforce mandated to beautify Monrovia, has announced a 3-phase plan to convert the Cemetery to a ‘memorial park.’
Scores of homeless and drug addicted individuals, who had heretofore made the Palm Grove Cemetery their ‘home’, received an ungracious eviction yesterday as ‘General’ Mary Broh’s Presidential Taskforce launched a campaign to demand honor for the dead buried there.
“We have desecrated the burial places of our people and I am charged to claim honor for them,” ‘General’ Broh told a team of journalists as frontend loaders brought down the cemetery walls, with police standing by and watching with interest.
Although she said the job is “taxing,” like the Biblical figure Nehemiah, who heard of the burning of Jerusalem and the desecration of the burial places of his forefathers and wanted them corrected, Madam Broh said it is time for Liberians to demonstrate a sense of ownership for their country and join together to reclaim honor for the burial places of their loved ones.
“As you can see we are breaking all the walls at this cemetery as the first phase of the campaign,” she said.
After the first phase, “We will be in the most taxing time to clean every part of the cemetery and we are talking about the next three to four months. After that is done we will move on to the third and final phase.
“The final phase is where we get communities in Monrovia involved because the plan is to build a Memorial Park that could give us some pride when we come here to see the burial places of our beloved dead.”
She quelled rumors that government or private individuals are planning to build an estate at the cemetery by saying, “We can never do that! We need to honor our dead and you can see here that the whole area is infested with human feces and there are a large number of drug addicts and others who are living here and we need to put stop to that. We owe the younger generation or our children to make this country safe and clear for them.”
The exercise is being supported by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Liberia National Police (LNP).
Although she did not attach cost to this four-month exercise, Broh implied that Liberians are standing with her on her quest to clean Monrovia.
“I got materials and front loaders from individuals who were concerned about the wanton desecration of the Palm Grove Cemetery and they offered help. At the end of the third phase we will discuss with our communities and invite them to participate. But my idea is to create a Memorial Park adorned with flowers and the names of as many of the dead so that Liberians can come over and take a look at them.”
Broh envisions the names of the dead written in gold lettering with companies bearing the cost as part of their corporate social responsibilities.
“We are not going to burden the government with cost, “ Madam Broh said, “but no matter what people may say, we all know that the dead buried at the Palm Grove Cemetery have been desecrated and it is time to end it.”
Justifying her work, Broh said her actions to right wrongs in society come from the heart, especially so when people complain against exercises that are meant to help the country.
In her estimation, “No one should tell us to have a clean society and burial places. Liberians must feel in their hearts to be willing to give of themselves to get their country clean. We must be part of it because it must not be left to Mary Broh and few others to do it. How do we allow ourselves to turn burial grounds as toilet grounds? How do we allow ourselves to build in alleys to create artificial concentration of pools of water and allow drug addicts to use burial grounds as homes?”
She called on Liberians to have the change of mindset that would result in clean beaches, parks and environments throughout the country.
As ‘General’ Broh’s armada sweeps the Palm Grove Cemetery from Center Street to Gurley Street in Monrovia, we are bound to hear the good and bad of it from the public; but are we bound to see Liberians responding to her clarion call for a cleaner Liberia?
This drama is far from being played out.